Book reviews: Lost At Sea | Every Contact Leaves A Trace | The New Few

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JON Ronson is extremely funny, and in this collection of his stories you’ll see that he’s funny precisely because he is such a sharp reporter.

Lost At Sea

By Jon Ronson

(Picador, £8.99) ****

With perfect pitch, he writes about the North Pole, the boxes of stuff in Stanley Kubrick’s house, the underbelly of the credit economy, the artist who painted 50 self-portraits, each under the influence of a different drug. Ronson is both ruthless and empathetic – a perfect combination. He spots the tiniest things but always keeps the big picture in view.

Every Contact Leaves A Trace

By Elanor Dymont

(Vintage, £7.99) ****

This murder mystery, which grips with unusual force, starts on a summer evening at an Oxford college. Several years after graduating, Alex and Rachel have returned for a visit. He’s a lawyer, she’s an academic. They knew each other slightly when they were at the college, then they met years later and had a very swift romance. Now they’re back. By the end of the evening, Rachel has been beaten to death with a rock. This novel sucks you in beautifully, and will not let you go.

The New Few

By Ferdinand Mount

(Simon & Schuster, £8.99) ****

Ferdinand Mount, who wrote Mind the Gap, one of the best books about the British class system I’ve ever read, has turned to the problem of inequality. Why are a tiny number of people super rich? Why are so many so poor? He explains how capitalism has subtly changed in recent years. He’s good on the relationship between shareholders and fund managers and unpicks financial products. The Few, it turns out, are very clever – and virtually unopposed.

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